Saturday, October 08, 2011

Cruise recap: Day 2

Guess I'm a little behind in my posts. Sorry!

Where was I? Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas

Up before dawn (4:15am, in fact) just for kicks, you know. Had to wait until 6am before the gym even opened. The gym was right at the back of the ship so there was a great view. Not like you could see any of it at 6am but as the sun started coming up, bit by bit, you could see the line of the horizon a little more clearly each moment. By the time I finished my run/bike at 7am, the clouds were taking on some beautiful colours from the sunrise. I walked outside to stretch and cool down. Not like you could cool down much outside, it was about 30C already, not counting the humidity - but still.

The ship was just pulling into the port in Nassau and we had a good view of Paradise Island. It was very odd to see it and know that Club Med wasn't there anymore. Strangely, I felt a bit emotional seeing it all again.

Anyway, the sunrise was beautiful and it was interesting to see the crew prepare to dock the ship. At 8am our group met for breakfast and decided on the plan of the day. There was lots of discussion about renting a van or getting a few taxis to take us all over the place for the day. Far too complicated for my taste and really, all I wanted to do was jump on the water taxi over to Paradise Island and chill on the beach all day.

As the others were trying to negotiate prices, I bought my little water taxi ticket ($6 return now!), a few of my friends joined me and we waited for the boat to fill up. Funnily enough, every last one of the group ended up doing the same thing.

A short 10 minute ride later and we were arriving on Paradise Island. On the way over we went right past the old Club Med buildings. I'd forgotten about the old shack used in the James Bond Thunderball movie, the Harbourside building that housed the restaurant of the same name and also was where the Chef de Village lived. Then past the theatre and bar area. The old dock is still there but everything is fenced off. And finally past the dining room. You could there was all kinds of furniture piled up close to some windows in there.

Now the hard part, to find the beach. Paradise Island was unrecognizable. In the 12 or so years since I left, hotels, shops and time share condos have popped up everywhere. I honestly had no idea how to get to the beach anymore. A few questions to a security guard and about 20 minutes I was running down the beach to be the first one with my feet in the water!

We managed to find a tiny bit of shade and dropped our stuff off there. Some of the group stayed there to snooze while others jumped into the water and some others started negotiating with the ever present jet-ski, banana boat drivers for deals.

The water was heavenly. The beach wasn't terribly crowded but there were lots of people selling things: hair braiding, water/beer, recorders (you know, those irritating wooden recorders elementary kids "play" as a musical instrument), lounge chair & umbrella rentals, jet skis, banana boat rides, snorkeling tours, parasail rides ... I just stayed at the beach all day. Luckily I had thought to bring a bit of food and water with me, so I didn't have go hunting for food or leave the beach.

On a day that forecast scattered thunderstorms, it rained for about 5 minutes, max. A lot of the tourists left to go back to their hotels or wherever at that time but it didn't bother us. I knew it wouldn't last long and it didn't.

In the end we spent a little too long at the beach and only had a few short minutes to hurry through the straw market for a bit of shopping before having to rush back to the ship and be ready for our 6pm dinner seating.

After dinner some of the group took taxis or scooters back to Paradise Island so they could have a look at the aquarium and then went out to celebrate one of our friend's birthday. I stayed on the ship with some of the others and just relaxed outside on the top of the ship. We watched the lights, did some people watching and somehow, I forced myself to stay awake until our departure at 11:30pm. Hopefully I would sleep in tomorrow ...

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